Posted Jul 24th 2012 7:00PM
Detroit's significance to the history of the automobile is inarguable, and that makes it the only metropolis in America that we care to note when another candle is added to its cake. Today, the town that's known as both the Motor City and Motown celebrates its 311th birthday. It was founded on July 24, 1701 by French explorer Antoine de la Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, whose name was later immortalized as General Motors' luxury car brand.
What began as a French fort and fur-trading settlement grew to become America's hub of manufacturing in the 20th century, but now Detroit finds itself in a process of recalibration. The globalization of the auto industry has deflated the city's population to its lowest level in 100 years – some 713,777 inhabitants – down from a high of 1.85 million in 1950.
But also of significance today is the fact that GM is planning to invest $850 billion through 2016 in R&D here in Canada. GM Canada employs more than 10,000 people here in the country and are set to make good on their commitment here following the Canadian government assistance in the 2009 bail-out. The R&D fund is being dipped into already and will continue to roll out new technologies with $150M per year funding.
Click here for a quick video appropriately entitled Detroit Lives but we have to wonder, when is Oshawa get some street cred.
OSHAWA, Ontario, July 24, 2012 – General Motors of Canada today outlined its commitment to significantly invest in research and development (R&D) activities in Canada. Between 2009 and 2016, GM is making investments totaling $850 million in R&D in Canada, which will provide long-term sustainable benefits to GM and the Canadian automotive sector through 2016 and beyond.
"GM has long been a Canadian technology and innovation leader and these additional investments will build our expertise in strategic and important technologies even further," said Kevin W. Williams, president and managing director, GM Canada. "Since 2009 alone, employees at our Canadian Engineering Centre have generated nearly 100 records of invention which allow us to offer better solutions for our customers, helping GM to design, build and sell the world's best vehicles."
"General Motors of Canada has made great strides since 2009 when our Government pledged its support to help it restructure. We are encouraged that, thanks in part to that support, GM is now making important investments in the future of the auto sector and manufacturing in Canada," said Prime Minister Harper. "Such investments in R&D bring long-term benefits to Canada, driving made-in-Canada innovation, increasing our ability to compete internationally and creating high-paying, stable jobs."
"The commitment, perseverance and skills of our auto workers have helped companies like GM fuel the continued recovery of our auto sector - an industry we've been proud to partner with because it supports 485,000 good jobs for Ontario families. GM's continued investments in research and development will no doubt create even more good jobs down the road," said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
Since 2009, GM has increased its investments in R&D and engineering in Canada, including growing activities at the Canadian Engineering Centre in Oshawa, Ontario. GM is committing to further leverage Canada's expertise in strategic and important technologies by expanding activities in light-weighting materials, mechatronics, software and communications. Cutting-edge technologies like these are critical to the development of tomorrow's vehicles and the sustainability of Canada's automotive sector.
GM has also enhanced supplier partnerships on R&D to drive innovation through the supply chain and increase automotive R&D capacity in Canada. For example, GM has partnered with multiple suppliers to develop light-weighting initiatives for the next generation of vehicles. These suppliers will then be able to leverage their global footprints to supply Canadian technology to operations around the world.
GM's commitments include:
- Investing in new streams of state-of-the-art advanced technology research at the Canadian Engineering Centre, positioning the Oshawa-based facility as an integral part of GM's global engineering and R&D networks;
- Enhancing partnerships with automotive suppliers that strengthen innovation and competitiveness in the Canadian supplier base, including new co-development projects and greater opportunities for start-ups to access funding through GM Ventures; and
- Continuing to develop formal technology linkages among Canadian universities, institutes, supplier and manufacturers in key technology areas that are aligned with Canadian R&D clusters and GM's priorities.
Headquartered in Oshawa, Ontario, General Motors of Canada Limited (GMCL) employs more than 10,000 people across the country and is a recognized leader in green manufacturing. GMCL markets the full range of fuel-efficient Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles and related services through Canada's largest automotive dealer network. GMCL also plays a leadership role in automotive design and engineering, engaging in innovative research and development partnerships with leading Canadian universities and research institutes. In addition, through its Canadian Engineering Centres, GMCL conducts development activities ranging from cold weather testing to the advancement of key electric vehicle and green technologies. More information regarding GMCL models can be found at www.gm.ca, or by following @GMCanada on Twitter.
Image Credit: Library of Congress
News Source: GM Canada